Since 2007, New Jersey has more than doubled its support for evidence-based home visiting programs. We now have an expanded statewide capacity to reach over 5,000 families of infants and young children with three core home visiting models - Healthy Families, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Parents as Teachers. These three models are now available to families in all 21 counties. We also fund the HIPPY (Home Instruction to Parents of Preschool Youngsters) program in Bergen County.
These voluntary home visiting programs provide ongoing health and parenting information, parent/family support, and links to essential health and social services during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood. HV services provide frequent and regular visits to families from pregnancy until the child is age two or three (eligibility varies by model). Participating programs track performance measures and federal benchmarks that include process, impact and outcome measures
During pregnancy and at birth, home visitors encourage positive behaviors and healthy nutrition to prevent poor pregnancy outcomes, e.g. preterm births, low birth weight. They also have a unique opportunity to identify and address health or social concerns earlier e.g. perinatal depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, unstable relationships, housing insecurity, etc. to help promote a strong foundation for child resilience and health. Important outcomes for HV programs include parent-child attachment, child health (physical, social-emotional and cognitive), and infant/ child safety, security and well-being.
HV Programs also focus on early learning, language development and early literacy:
- EBHV programs incorporate formal parenting education curricula that explain early brain development and emphasize the role that parents play as their child's first and most important teacher
- Home visitors teach and model observation skills for parents, and give them simple activities and strategies to stimulate early learning at home.
- Home visits include on-going routine assessments of infant/child growth and development, and social-emotional health (Ages & Stages Questionnaire), as well as assessment of the home environment in promoting early learning.
- Infants with secure and nurturing parent-child relationships are more resilient and better positioned to interact with the world- to play, explore, and learn.
- And, when families graduate from HV, the transition goal is to ensure that children have continuing early care & education links, e.g. Head Start, childcare center, or preschool.
NJ promotes a system of prenatal screening and risk assessment (PRA) to help women/families identify needs and simplify access to available services and supports. Referrals for HV services may be made through this expanding network of county-based Central Intake sites.
In NJ, home visiting is funded collaboratively by three departments-
- Health -- Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Grant - MIECHV Administrative Lead Agency and Project Director, Lakota Kruse, MD
- Children & Families - Title IVB and State Funds - Implementing Agency and HV Manager, Lenore Scott, MSW
- Human Services - TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) Funds - Annette Riordan, Psy.D
The following links will help you to learn more about available services:
Or, check out the FCP Community Program Directory for HV programs in your county.
For more information about the national models refer to the following links:
- Healthy Families (HF) Healthyfamiliesamerica and Preventchildabusenj
- Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Nursefamilypartnership
- Parents as Teachers (PAT) Parentsasteachers and Preventchildabusenj
- Home Instruction to Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Hippyusa.org
For more information contact:Lenore Scott, LSW HV Program Manager, Early Childhood Services NJ Dept. of Children & Families/Family & Community Partnerships 50 East State St., 7th Fl PO 717, CC#200, Trenton, NJ 08625-0717 Office#: 609-888-7406 Fax: 609-292-1306 Lenore.firstname.lastname@example.org